Freegans Ask Trader Joe's to Stop Tossing Food into Dumpsters

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Flickr user caterina

Although they've received numerous write-ups in local and national media over the past five years, freegans--people who Dumpster dive as a life philosophy instead of out of necessity--have never really caught on an a bona fide movement. But that doesn't mean those hardy individuals won't stop trying! Now, a filmmaker with an obvious horse in this race--a documentary on dumpster diving--has launched a petition against Trader Joe's asking them (almost counterintuitively, it seems) not to toss out so much food into the trash.
Jeremy Seifert is a Los Angeles-area filmmaker whose Dive! The Film not only documents the freegan movement but also tackles the much-more-important question of food waste and hunger in this country. For reasons he never explains, Seifert is now targeting Trader Joe's as part of a campaign to convince grocery stores to not toss out their food--maybe because he thinks the Monrovia-based company is liberal because a bunch of hipsters shop there despite business practices regarding copying the products of others that would make Rockefeller seem like a socialist?

In a petition already signed by more than 30,000 people, Seifert asks Trader Joe's to commit to a "Zero Food Waste" policy. "Your reluctance to do so shows a disheartening lack of concern for people in need, hunger-related issues, the environment, and the local communities in which Trader Joe's are located," the petition reads, adding, "If Trader Joe's continues to refuse this policy, I will be forced to reconsider where I purchase my food." In an accompanying essay, Seifert (any relation to former San Francisco 49ers coach George?) talks about his experiences dumpster-diving at Trader Joe's, and urges them to donate soon-to-expired food to local charities and food banks."

"In many respects, Trader Joe's is better than many grocery chains out there, and that's part of the reason I'm starting my food waste campaign with them," Seifert says. "It seems appropriate to start with a company that people assume is already doing the right thing. Trader Joe's needs to take a leadership role on food waste."

Good luck...

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7 comments
pandaaze
pandaaze

Calling all freegans or those considering it! Can you please complete either a 20 minute surveyhttp://www.stellarsurvey.com/s.aspx?u=B0C2352F-90C5-4B66-BA78-9B716EB2676B& OR 10 minute questionnairehttp://www.surveymethods.com/EndUser.aspx?87A3CFD684C2D0D08C The purpose of this survey is to educate Florida Atlantic University's graduate class Food: Environments and Culture class about freeganism. Your answers will remain anonymous and confidential. The results will be compiled into large statistically representations, unless otherwise noted by you in with written consent at the designated final box stating that you want to be used as a specific example. At the end of the survey there is also an optional elective to request a follow up interview which should last between 30 minutes to an hour depending on your availability. Feel free to skip any questions you feel uncomfortable answering, you can always save and continue later, and you can submit without finishing if need be. Thank you in advance for your participation in my project. I really appreciate it!

Dumpster Renting
Dumpster Renting

Food wasting is total wrong dumpster are for waste management. Waste management is necessary for our environment and for keeping away lots of disease.   

Strange Angel
Strange Angel

I wonder, did Seifert even CONSIDER talking to someone from Trader Joe's? There are entire chains of people that branch out from each TJ's location to distribute the food that has reached it's sell-by date but has not yet expired, that has been scuffed but not damaged, etc. 

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

I'm against wasting food, too...but these people take the cake (pun intended). What's next, digging in the trash of private residences and scolding the occupants for throwing out that old take-out?

MayhemInTheHood
MayhemInTheHood

Is there hunger in this country? Food waste, sure. Hunger? Ehhhhhhhhh...seems like even if you're homeless and don't have a dime to your name, there are plenty of places that will provide you with what you need.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

This is crazy. Trader Joe's donates tons of food to local charities.  The only food that is thrown away is food that cannot be donated.  Sometimes the food has expired, sometimes it is contaminated.  Nevertheless, all food even remotely edible is donated.  Also, the TJ's warehouses donate product but if it is expired or contaminated they throw it away. 

A good example would be if there are bruised apples and they pull them from the shelves they'll throw away the ones that are mushy and smelly but they'll donate anything that has a bruise or two on it. 

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